Have you experienced a gut-wrenching heartbreak, one that turns your world upside down? If so, you know that the pain you feel in its wake can be overwhelming. Maybe even frightening.
Far too often, we push ourselves to get past our grief as quickly as possible, to feel in control again. We ignore our need to process this pain.
Most of us have become very good at avoiding pain. We want a quick fix, fast relief from whatever is bothering us, without trying to understand how we got there in the first place, and how to avoid getting hurt again.
We want to move on as quickly as possible. Pain is uncomfortable, as is the loss of control we feel.
But here’s the reality. Pain takes time to heal. It’s a process. Pain requires us to cultivate patience in order to truly let go and move on. We have to sit with the pain, as much as we want to avoid it.
Given time, you will heal. In the meantime, are some ways to help you cultivate patience, so you can do what’s best for your body, mind, and emotional health:
Listen to your body.
Think of it this way: when you hurt yourself, the wound doesn’t just close up immediately. It swells, turns red, and hurts terribly before the pain subsides. But it does disappear over time, as long as you take care of it – allowing your body to do its thing to heal the wound.
Emotional pain is similar. Our bodies know what to do, so it’s important to listen and to give ourselves the time and space we need for healing. Take a long walk when you feel compelled. Instead of indulging in an unhealthy diet each night, trying to fill a void with junk food or cocktails, opt instead to take care of yourself by feeding and treating your body well. Book a massage. Spend time reading or exercising when you feel restless or alone. The point is, you can take care of your psyche by taking care of your body.
Don’t rush to fill the void.
It might be tempting to throw yourself into a new romance, or download online dating apps with a vengeance. But letting your fears take control of your healing isn’t a good idea – it leads to more heartache, and more pain down the road that you’ll eventually have to face again. Instead of giving fear such power, talk to yourself as you would a good friend. Understand that being alone is a part of life from time to time. Your breakup is making room for something better in your life, so it’s good to take the time and do the hard work of grieving first.
Don’t harbor resentment; find an outlet.
If you give in to blame and anger, filling your days with negative emotions about your ex and the way he treated you, it also prolongs your pain and grief. You’re tying yourself to your old toxic relationship, making it impossible for new love to enter the picture.
Here’s the truth: when you choose blame, you are only prolonging your grief. So write in your journal, play guitar, or paint your feelings; give them an escape route. Or if you’d rather release your anger in a more physical way, take up a new sport or start training for a marathon.
Healthy distraction is a great way to cope and develop resilience. Life is not easy; the better we learn to cope when things go wrong, the happier we will be in the long run.
Most importantly, know that your heart will heal.